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This song and dance about saving Merton Hall - the future of Harris Academy Wimbledon is at risk!

(20 Posts)
JilledOut Wed 20-Sep-17 12:06:12

I'm all for saving local buildings with beauty and heritage but this campaign to save Merton Hall seems a bit OTT. I cannot but think that there's NIMBYISM at play in some way. AND that they've failed to see the bigger picture - should their campaign be successful, the Elim Church won't be able to move from its current High Path location and the future of a much needed local secondary school (serving Colliers Wood/Merton Abbey/South Wimbledon families) may be thrown into jeopardy.

If we lived in Australia, where Victorian builds are rare and need to be listed and preserved, I could understand the fuss. BUT we're in England where Victorian buildings remain plentiful. So what's all the fuss about???? I cannot see that it has particular architectural or historic merit (or am I missing something?) to warrant the current level of campaigning.

Just wondering what other local parents think about it all? Wondering whether the campaign is more a point of principal by a group of local residents who don't like change and/or haven't got children to educate in the state sector.

Centrecourtwimbledon Wed 20-Sep-17 23:00:44

Surely there's somewhere else the church can go to, it doesn't have to be exactly there? After all, if a church can meet in Wimbledon Odeon or at the David Lloyd then there must be other potential venues?

TwigTheWonderKid Thu 21-Sep-17 18:36:46

I've lived in Wimbledon for almost thirty years and could weep over all the interesting buildings which we have lost in that time. Wimbledon used to be full of character and has become bland and soulless because of lack of foresight in town planning.

I have primary and high school.age children so I know how important the provision of more school places is but I am sure an alternative venue and be found for the church if the will is there.

BIWI Thu 21-Sep-17 22:44:38

The future of a school that doesn't yet exist isn't more important than a building that does.

Have you seen the plans that have been put forward for the building? They are hideous. And totally out of keeping with the local area.

I have absolutely no issue with the Elim church being given the building for their use. But I do, absolutely and vehemently, oppose the plans that they have put forward for the changes to the building.

JilledOut Fri 22-Sep-17 16:01:28

common sense prevailed I see. Just seen on Twitter: ” Merton Council Planning Committee approves the application that will see 80% of Merton Hall demolished.

TwigTheWonderKid Fri 22-Sep-17 17:54:46

I'm really sorry to hear that. What a shame

BIWI Fri 22-Sep-17 22:40:09

That's really sad sad

DeccaMitfordsEntryVisa Mon 25-Sep-17 14:26:23

I am appalled at the way the vote went. The hall is lovely. Plans are hideous.

And OP, yes I have children at state schools.

I think this whole set up is short sighted and very sad.

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 25-Sep-17 22:39:25


gazzalw Fri 29-Sep-17 08:50:57

Was walking by there yesterday and yes, agree, it is a fine example of a Victorian build. However, the whole of that end of Kingston Road is a bit of a blot on the architectural landscape which somehow negates some of the fine (but overshadowed) gems in its midst.

Blueberrysandgrapes76 Sun 01-Oct-17 06:02:53

Wimbledon has really awful planning decisions.

There are other places both the school and the church could go. How sad to lose Merton hall.

BIWI Sun 01-Oct-17 09:13:13

That's true, @gazzalw - but no reason to get rid of the good stuff!

gazzalw Tue 10-Oct-17 16:40:05

The Save Merton Hall campaigners aren't giving up without a fight - they're suggesting - on Twitter - that you go along to the 12 October (7.15pm) Morden Community Forum and address your concerns to Deputy Leader of the Council, Mark Allison.

Just saying...

Sarasmilealways Mon 08-Jan-18 04:40:17

There is another SW19 site that has unexpectedly come up that could be used for the new Harris school - North Road formerly Virgin Active — which is slightly bigger than High Path and can be built up. The council fully own it, it is equi-distant to the three nodal points of Colliers Wood, Haydens Park, South Wimbledon tube. The Air is much Cleaner (which was one of the main concerns about the High Path site - don’t our kids’ lungs deserve the cleanest possible air if it is available? It is not opposite a probation centre, it is not opposite what will be a 12+ Year regeneration construction site to see High Path go up from 600 units to over 1500 units (construction dust etc). It is safer and less crowded than High Path/Merton Abbey Primary stretch. And it has Green usable space around it unlike High Path which still does not have guaranteed playing fields. Haydons Road Rec is close by, Garfield Park and the Wandle Valley ...etc etc. And it would save our heritage, leave the church to stay put and save millions of our council tax - no more £4mln to move the church to Merton Hall. Will Merton listen?

ReelingLush18 Mon 08-Jan-18 08:16:03

Sarasmilealways has Merton Council actually made any comment (official or otherwise) about the feasibility of using the North Road site instead? It would seem to make sense on all sorts of levels (except that Haydons Road already gets congested during rush hours - could it cope with more traffic?). However, wondering whether the point of no return has already been reached with proceedings regarding the High Path site? Presumably lots of time, effort and money will have already gone into securing the latter?

Sarasmilealways Mon 22-Jan-18 02:43:49

Please see this link! It has some very insightful bits about the High Path location.

And reason for demolition of most of Merton Hall? (Elim) “Church happy with alternative site, Merton Hall, but have concerns that it looks too much like a church. Elim agreed to work with LA (local authority) to re-design. Facade locally-listed making demolition difficult. LA to seek planners/architects view on what can be done to property - (email on 9th May 2016) - How upsetting is that? What little regard for a fine building donated to the community! Looks too much like a church so let’s demolish it, and said by a church... Seems Council is being held to ransom after all despite the Council Leader Stephen Alambritis saying not so in interview with Radio Jackie the other day...

Mumfun Sun 28-Jan-18 14:08:52

Think North Road is a much better site for a school. The pollution on the other new site must be high and will likely get higher with further developments.

Some of the underlying stuff around Merton Hall stinks especially the stuff about it being given to Elim on a community value basis with the wink wink nod nod that they can likely sell on a residential basis in the future. And Elim determined on Merton Hall with no parking where as they gave no parking as the reason they left their other church building just round the corner from Merton Hall. It has to be the financial huge windfall they see in future. At all us taxpayers expense. Totally stinks!

ReelingLush18 Tue 30-Jan-18 13:16:25

Can see why the campaign didn't succeed in getting Merton Hall listed -it's not historic enough by UK standards, I wouldn't have thought (it would be different in places like Australia and New Zealand, assuredly!).

Has anyone heard anyone from Merton Council or the Harris Federation even acknowledge that the Virgin Active North Road site would be a better location for a secondary school? I suspect the related bureaucracy has reached the point of no return for it even to be a viable option at this stage. Sadly.

Sarasmilealways Wed 31-Jan-18 23:21:38

The Council did a survey on Battle Close for the school and said on January 10 that it wasn’t suitable. It said the site was too small (it’s not, it’s a big bigger than High Path), it had residential houses and so could not be built up (it has residential on two sides and a 5 storey building across from the site) and backs onto Garfield School. it said there wasn’t a 21m boundary distance and assumed that a development on Garfield Road was right on the boundary (which it isn’t). It didn’t come up with options of stepped back design (on the sides for example) that we are plagued with in Merton, and only gave options of building straight up and right on the boundaries which would affect sunlight. I think there is no Council desire to try to put a school there as this issue of sunlight is often discarded when it comes to most applications! It seems the Council had already decided in November that it was going to be housing with a leisure centre. So if not a school, why not move the Elim church there?
The site is 0.97 hectares which works out at 9,700 sqm. The church would only take about 1,260 sqm or less- leaving ample space for leisure centre and housing (over 8,500 sqm). Merton Hall would return to the community. A win-win situation. But the new school on High Path would still be in a bad location - cramped, stacked five floors, opposite a probation centre, running along that very busy A24/Merantun Way and that long and dusty 15-year regeneration on High Path which will triple its size to over 1,500 units. And no outdoor sports fields. The Council is saying we are clamouring for it. But would you send your child there?

Sarasmilealways Sun 11-Mar-18 21:28:55

Hello there. Come and have a look at the designs for the new Harris Wimbledon School on High Path - Consultation on Monday March 19th 2018 from 4 pm-8pm High Path Resource Centre - 63 High Path SW19 2JY.
The resource centre will one of three other building to be knocked down to pave way for the school on the narrowing strip. Please note the green space next door at the primary school - a tennis-court’s width/length will be taken away for the primary school to be given to Harris. The primary school will be allowed restricted hours for use of that space.
There are still No guaranteed outside playing space for the school - the playing fields we were told would be used (Nursery Road fields) are privately owned, not Merton Council owned. The owner is Rutlish Foundation and for first use by Rutlish School. (State not academy)

Also Merton Council on Thursday approved the outline planning application for the massive regeneration of High Path estate which sits across from the school. This will see it grow from 600 units to up to 1570 units, with buildings up to 10 storeys high. Impact of the new school was not assessed and was not taken into consideration in agreeing the planning application. That means 10-15 years of construction just across from the new school (which also sits across from a probation centre).
The first phase of the regeneration, right across from current site of Elim Church which will be part of the school, is expected to commence this year.

I am for a school, but this tiny site for the number of expected students (1150 up from original 1050) is just wrong. Our kids deserve better!

FYI, two secondary schools in Merton are NOT at capacity - Raynes Park Secondary which is due for an expansion, and St Marks Academy in Mitcham. We were told the school could not be built in Mitcham which has much better/greener/larger Council-owned sites as it would destabilise St Marks and would lead to the closure of Melrose School (a school of 40 students that could easily have been moved to Whatley Avenue -the temporary site for Harris Y7-Y8). I do not believe the Council has been totally transparent.

Please go to the consultation and decide for yourselves if this is the best site/school design for your children.

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